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Israel's defense minister resigns over 'lack of faith' in Netanyahu

The Israeli premier has offered the Defense Ministry portfolio to the ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman. Moshe Yaalon, the departing defense minister, said there had been a "loss of moral direction."

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon on Friday announced his resignation from the government and parliament on the social media platform Twitter.

"I informed the prime minister that after his conduct and recent developments, and given the lack of faith in him, I am resigning from the government and parliament and taking a break from political life," Yaalon said, according to Reuters news agency's translation.

Yaalon's announcement comes a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed him that his office was offered to Avigdor Lieberman in a bid to shore up support for a coalition government.

Lieberman,

who served as Israel's foreign minister from 2009 to 2012 and 2013 to 2015, heads the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

Citing sources close to the premier, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported that Netanyahu considered offering Yaalon the Foreign Affairs portfolio in lieu of the Defense Ministry position.

But the premier's advisers reportedly disapproved because of the possibility that Yaalon could gain further influence in

Netanyahu's conservative Likud party.

A controversial figure

Lieberman has come under public scrutiny for questioning Arab-Israelis' loyalty to the state and attempting to pass legislation that would require Israelis to sign a loyalty oath or have their citizenship revoked.

The head of Yisrael Beitenu has also proposed legislation that would impose the death penalty on convicted "terrorists."

"(There has been) a loss of moral direction on basic ethical questions," Yaalon said on Thursday in his first public comments since Netanyahu offered Lieberman the position.

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